Research into Distiller's Dried Grains in Poultry Feed

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor of ThePoultrySite. Adding distiller’s dried grains as a supplement to poultry feed can improve performance. Three research papers outlining how the supplement could be used in different aspects of the poultry industry were presented to the recent International Poultry Science Forum in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Evaluation of Distiller's Dried Grains as a Feed Ingredient for Laying Hens and Broilers

The addition of distiller’s dried grains to a commercial poultry diet can significantly improve performance, according to research from the University of Georgia, in Athens and Agreeco from Chesterfield in Missouri.

The research from the University of Georgia, in Athens and Agreeco from Chesterfield in Missouri, by B. Y. Jung1, P. D. Sedlacek1, A. B. Batal1, and L. R. Prewitt2, presented to the International Poultry Scientific Forum preceding the International Poultry Exposition showed that adding just three per cent of DDG to commercial layer and broiler diet improved performance and that up to six per cent is an acceptable addition to poultry feed.

In the forum, B.Y. Jung from the University of Georgia explained that two experiments were conducted to evaluate the feeding value of distiller's dried grains (DDG) using a special fractionated process on laying hen and broiler performance.

In the first experiment, five diets were fed to 15 replications of 6 Hy-line W36 laying hens per treatment. The five dietary treatments consisted of a commercial layer diet with 0, 3, 6, 9, or 12 per cent DDG.

Egg production was measured daily and egg weights were measured weekly for mean egg weight and total egg mass.

In addition yolk colour, haugh units, and specific gravity were measured every four weeks.

The addition of three per cent DDG to the commercial layer diet significantly (P> 0.05) improved egg production and egg mass over the positive control (0 per cent DDG).

However, there was no difference in egg production between the diets with six, nine and 12 per cent DDG as compared to the positive control or the diet with three per cent DDG.

There was no significant difference in specific gravity, haugh units, yolk colour, body weight, or feed efficiency during the first five weeks (21 to 26 weeks of age) due to the addition of up to 12 per cent DDG. This experiment will be carried out to 41 wks of age.

In the second experiment, one day old male broiler chicks were placed in Petersime battery brooders and kept on a 24 hour lighting schedule in a thermostatically controlled room. The chicks were randomly given six dietary treatments (0, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 16 per cent DDG) with eight replicate pens containing six chicks each.

Body weight gain and feed intake were measured at zero, seven, 14 and 20 days of age. The addition of three per cent DDG to the diet significantly improved (P > 0.05) weight gain as compared to the broilers fed the diet with 0, 6, 9, 12 and 16 per cent DDG.

Increasing the level of DDG in the diets to 16 per cent significantly (P > 0.05) depressed weight gain, feed intake, and feed efficiency as compared to the 0 or 3 per cent DDG diets.

Miss Jung said that this was most likely because of a deficiency in lysine.

The addition of three per cent DDG to a commercial layer or broiler diet significantly improved performance and so, DDG (up to six per cent) are a highly acceptable feed ingredient for poultry diets.

Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles in Laying Hens Rations

Another study, conducted at the University of Nebraska tested the effect of Dried Distillers Grains with solubles (DDGS) in feed for laying hens.

The first phase of the experiment measure body weights and the egg parameters. The study, carried out by M. K. Masa'deh3 and S. E. Scheideler3, at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, found that feeding up to 25 per cent DDGS during Phase 1 of production had no negative effects on feed intake, egg production, haugh unit and specific gravity; and improved yolk colour at the highest levels. However, increasing DDGS level beyond 15 per cent cause a reduction in egg weight.

M. K. Masa'deh told the forum that 288 Bovan White laying hens were fed diets containing 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 per cent DDGS from 24 to 46 weeks of age.

The diets were formulated to provide 2775 Kcal/kg ME (metabolisable energy), 16.5 per cent protein, 0.83 per cent lysine and 0.75 per cent TSAA. Six hens were placed per cage with eight replicate cages per dietary treatment in an unbalanced random complete block design.

Average feed intake was similar (p > 0.1) between treatments with an average of 109g/hen/day. Average hen weights were similar (p > 0.1) between dietary levels of DDGS. There was no difference in hen weight gain (p > 0.1) between treatments. However, hen fed 20 and 25 per cent DDGS had lower weight gain (100g) compare with 0, 5, 10, or 15 per cent DDGS (140g).Egg production was not affected by dietary DDGS levels (p > 0.1) averaging 91 per cent EP. Egg weight was significantly (p< 0.1) affected by DDGS treatment.

Hens fed 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 per cent DDGS had an average egg weight for the trial of 60.6, 60.4, 60.8, 60.0, 59.0, and 59.0 grams respectively. There was no difference (p >0.1) in egg Haugh unit, albumen height, and specific gravity between the levels of DDGS. Yolk colour increased with increasing DDGS level with the highest Roche colour fan score (p< 0.05) of 7.2 for hens fed 25 per cent DDGS.

Evaluation of DDGS as an Alternative Ingredient for Broiler Chickens

A third study, carried out at the University of Georgia in Athens together with the companies Ajinomoto and Degussa found that DDGS can be a good alternative ingredient for broiler chickens, provided diets are formulated and balanced based on digestible amino acids.

The research conducted by M. Y. Shim1, G. M. Pesti1, R. I. Bakalli1, P. B. Tillman4, and D. Hoehler5, tested the use of the co-product of ethanol production distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

Cobb × Cobb 500 commercial broilers were housed in floor pens (35 birds per pen) for 42 days across six pens per treatment.

Corn, soybean meal, DDGS and poultry grease based diets were formulated for starter (0 - 18 days), grower (18 - 35 days) and finisher (35 - 42 days) phases on a digestible amino acid basis. Supplementation of L-Lysine HCl, L-Threonine and crude protein level increased with each increase in DDGS inclusion. At the lower end (0 per cent DDGS) and at the top end (24 per cent DDGS) diets were blended to obtain the eight and 16 per cent DDGS diets, which were subsequently pelleted.

DDGS was evaluated as an alternative ingredient to estimate growth performance, carcase quality and pellet durability. Body weight gain at the end of the starter phase (day 18) was increased when birds were fed DDGS (avg. = 0.717 kg) compared to all corn (0.688 kg).

Body weight gain (2.496, 2.487, 2.469 and 2.494 kg) and feed use were similar at 42 days (1.686, 1.715, 1.715 and 1.711 kg/kg) for birds fed zero, eight, 16 and 24 per cent DDGS, respectively.

Fat pads (0.058, 0.054, 0.049 and 0.048 kg) and breast meat yields (0.475, 0.486, 0.468 and 0.489 kg) were also similar at 42 days for zero, eight, 16 and 24 per cent DDGS respectively.

Carcass quality did not show any differences up to 24 per cent DDGS compared to the corn and soybean control diet. Since DDGS and fat levels increased together, increased fat and DDGS levels decreased pellet durability.

In the finisher phase, pellet durability was 74.20, 69.51, 60.18 and 49.66 per cent for zero, eight, 16 and 24 per cent DDGS, respectively. DDGS can be a good alternative ingredient for broiler chickens, provided diets are formulated and balanced based on digestible amino acids, the poultry forum heard.

Note: 1University of Georgia, Athens, 2Agreeco, LLC, Chesterfield, MO.,3 University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 4 Ajimoto Heartland LLC, Chicago, IL, 5Degussa Corporation, Kennesaw, GA.

January 2008
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